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2019-02-21 to 2019 02 28 – San Clemente State Beach

We’re off again for 11 days… First stop is San Clemente State Beach, one of the best ocean front RV parks in California – large sites, full hook-ups, 30-45 minute walk to town and the pier, shops, restaurants.  It’s a little further to the Rainbow Sandal Store, but we will walk there one day during this trip…

We packed up the truck and headed out at 11:00 am on Thursday.  We picked up the Villa in Temecula where we had left it for service at Airstream IE.  So far they have been OK, but I’m not overly impressed after two visits.  We’ll see…

We arrived at the campground promptly at 2:00, found our site, and tried to set up.  After several tries in various locations we were able to get decent satellite TV service.  However: OOPS!  the utility post prevented the slide from opening!  So we had to un-stabilize, re-hitch, and re-position.  Now that the slide opens we can’t put out the awning due to an unfortunately placed tree… We have such first world problems!

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But we are set up and a quiet evening alone was had.  Happy Hours occurred.  The sun set, and all was well.

Friday morning dawned bright and cold!  42 degrees!  (It had snowed the day before in many parts of LA…)  So we walked to the pier a little later than usual.  But it was delightful in the sun and the coffee at Bear Coast was wonderful.

We did see evidence if the recent heavy rains:

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The rest of the day was spent reading and doing income taxes.  Much fun…

At 2:00 pm or so three cousins arrived and set up.  We had a little casual conversation with them, but we retreated back to the Villa as the sun set and it got really cold again.  Happy Hours and dinner inside were had and all was well…

Saturday is the big day and the reason for this trip.  We will meet up with many of my cousins, plus the various inlaws and outlaws.  We’ve been doing this for about five years, mainly since so many of us have birthdays around this time…

We did walk to the pier for coffee, of course…

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Around 1:00 we started to gather and by 2:00  we had a nice crowd, although it was smaller than some previous years… We counted six first cousins, plus about 12-15 others, including kids and grandkids, and the aforementioned inlaws and outlaws…

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These are the six cousins, standing in age order.  I have no idea what I was looking at…

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Just some of our motley crew…

We spent the afternoon getting reacquainted, lying and bragging about our kids and grandkids, and, for some, great grandkids.  (Note that the other five cousins are all a LOT order than I am…)

There was much food and wine and even a little bourbon…

Again it was quite cold, so we turned in relatively early… All was well…

Sunday was another big day.  It is Lynda’s birthday!  We are the same age for about two weeks… And we will be visited by our daughter and her thundering herd…

We walked to Bear Coast Coffee once again, then we returned to the Villa and 30 minutes of peace before the McAnoy clan arrived…

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They soon decided they needed to walk down to the beach…

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Evelyn enjoyed her first time crawling about in the sand…

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After a walk to the pier and a brief snack and they all departed for home… We were exhausted…

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We turned in early… And all was well…

Monday we decided it was time for an epic walk… First to the pier for coffee, then to the Outlet Mall in North San Clemente.  Lynda found a few bargains for the kids, then we headed over to Rainbow Sandals to buy new flips for the kids.  We walked back through town, stopped for used books, and then returned to the Villa – a total of 9 miles and about 20,000 steps.  Then it was nap time!  In the evening we joined the few remaining cousins for a light dinner and another day was in the books… And all was well…

Tuesday again found us at Bear Coast Coffee…

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It was the first day we could walk to the pier without wearing jackets… As we were walking we received word that Evelyn has received her first birthday present:

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The others have also received their own chair on each of their first birthdays…

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Today we went through all the cupboards and storage areas in the Villa and removed anything not necessary for our upcoming three month trip to the east coast and back… We don’t need 16 wine glasses, six water hoses, etc.  We feel much lighter now…

Since last Sunday was Lynda’s birthday, tonight we walked in to Ave. Del Mar and went out to dinner at Brussels Bistro…

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It was OK – nice Old Fashioneds, pretty good frites, good meatballs, OK mussels… Good, friendly service… We took Uber back to the Villa and turned in early… All was well…

It’s Thursday morning and it’s time to go.  We walked for coffee one last time… The coast was lovely as usual…

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We packed up, hooked up, and left San Clemente about 10:30 am… We are off to Pechanga RV Resort in Temecula!

We’ll be back to camp in San Clemente in June…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-02-10 to 2019 02 15 – Crystal Cove State Park – Moro Campground

We escaped for a quick five days at Crystal Cove State Park.  We were just here 10 days ago, but it is one of out favorite places…

We pulled out of Redlands at about 1:30 pm, arriving at the guard shack at 2:46 pm.  They are VERY strict about the 3:00 pm check-in time, so I threw myself of the guard’s mercy, explaining, “I’m sorry we are early, but there wasn’t enough traffic…”  He acquiesced and checked us in.  By 4:00 we were set up and the rain began.

We were soon joined by two couples from our high school days, plus another Airstream couple who is camping with us.  We enjoyed Happy Hours inside the Villa, as the rain rattled on the roof.

However, just before dinner we stepped outside to see the sunset:

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After dark we returned inside for dinner and some great wine.  As the hours passed by we enjoyed catching up and laughing about old times…

Monday morning dawned bright and sunny, with blue skies all around… The traditional walk along the beach happened despite the cool temperatures (42 degrees…):

The tunnel under Hwy 1 is both a beach access path and an outflow for rain run-off from the hills above.  This was our first close-up glimpse of the surf line…

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Phil and Steve braving the elements:

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Low tide reveals many more rocks than usual:

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Lynda on the rocks:

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On our return walk atop the bluffs we pass by the historic Shake Shack:

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(I could show these same photos every day because we take the same walk every day…)

Later in the day I walked out to the edge of the campground for some shots of the coastline:

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And a nice view of the Villa…

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The rest of the day was spent relaxing and puzzling; I watched an old movie and worked on planning our trip to Louisiana in March.  Happy Hours arrived at 5:00 and we enjoyed a cozy evening in the Villa.

Tuesday morning started out much the same as Monday.  The weather is gorgeous but frickin’ freezing – 42 degrees when we left to walk the beach at 8:30 am.

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It’s always fun to see these small water fowl along the way…

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Lots of rocks are exposed at low tide.  Beyond is the historic zone of the 1930s era cottages; these cottages have been restored and are available for rent through ReserveCalifornia.com.  It is virtually impossible to get a reservation…

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The final 17 cottages are currently being restored.  New foundations are installed on deep pilings, new infrastructure, roads, and utilities are being installed, steel frames are added to meet current building codes, and all the old materials, inside and out, are restored and reused to maintain the 1930s look.  The restoration of the 17 cottages is costing $17,000,000 – you do the math…

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Crystal Cove consists of 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of land, all donated by The Irvine Company to the State of California in 1999…

Wednesday morning started out much the same as Tuesday.  Except the weather, while still gorgeous, has turned cloudy…

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Rain is expected to start at noon and to continue for 5 days…

Along our walk back to the campground we pass by these houses (about 130 condos) on the hill above the Crystal Cove Shopping Center.  These were done by my office, TCA Architects, Inc., almost 20 years ago.  They appear to be holding up nicely…

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The rest of the day we stayed cozy in the Villa, listening to the rain on the roof… Happy hours occurred.

At about midnight the rain started in earnest.  It rained HARD for 12 straight hours, with bouts of very heavy wind.  Being inside an aluminum tube, with plastic skylights, the noise was deafening!

Thursday morning we stayed in due to the rain.  Happy Valentines Day! Finally a little after noon the fog/low clouds lifted and the rain slowed to a drizzle.  We ventured outside:

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The sea was angry, my friend…

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The stream that becomes a two foot wide channel through the tunnel under the highway has become a torrent.  The rangers closed the day-use area to keep people from being swept away if they tried to walk through the tunnel…

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The surf continued to tear up the beach and sweeping the sand out to sea…

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The evening of the 14th we enjoyed Happy Hours again, this time with special Valentines Day Cocktails:  We each had a Boulevardier, served with caviar on a blini, and for dessert were chocolate truffles and more wine…

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It was a good evening…

Friday morning was beautiful again.  We couldn’t do our normal beach walk because the tunnel under the highway was still flooded, but we did a work around.  The beach was a mess, loaded up with seaweed and kelp, but it was otherwise clean…

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After the walk it was time to clean up and hitch up.  We were back in Redlands by 2:30…  We even saw some green fields and hills and orange groves in Redlands on our drive home…

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Next week we go to San Clemente State Beach, and the week after that we have a club rally at Pechanga…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-01-27 to 2019 01 31 – Crystal Cove State Park – Moro Campground

We left Chula Vista RV Resort at about 1:15, hoping to arrive at Crystal Cove State Park, El Moro Campground, at 3:00, which is check-in time.  We drove north on the 5, the 15, the 805, and the 5 again, finally exiting at the 1 in San Clemente.  We then drove north on Pacific Coast Highway for 12 miles, passing through Dana Point, Monarch Beach, Laguna Niquel, South Laguna, and Laguna Beach.  Naturally, on a Sunday afternoon, with great sunny weather, Laguna Beach was packed, but the drive was wonderful, despite towing The Villa through the crowded, narrow highway…

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We arrived safely, checked in, parked, and were set up by 4:00.  Then we hit the beach.  We haven’t been here since March… Before we moved to Redlands we walked this beach two-three times per week…

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The beach was lovely, the tide was low, and the weather was warm… Sunset was even nicer!

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Today is the last day of “Restaurant Week” in Newport Beach, so we broke form and went out to dinner.  We went to Pescadou, a great French restaurant on Balboa peninsula.  We haven’t been here in several years and it was great to see Jacques again…

Monday morning found us walking the beach again…

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After a day of relaxing and puzzling we again had our Happy Hours as the sun set…

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Tuesday morning we were treated to breakfast by our Airstream friends; a day of relaxing and puzzling ensued…

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Tuesday evening we again ventured outside the RV Park, going to Fashion Island to watch a big screen showing of “The Wizard of Oz”.  Much fun…

Wednesday was pure relaxation.  Walk along the beach, a stop at Starbucks, puzzling, movies on TV, and more relaxation.  4:00 brought Happy Hours…

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Thursday brought the rain.  We packed up and headed for home…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-01-24 to 2019-01-27 – South Coast Airstream Club – Chula Vista RV Resort

Our second rally of the new year.  Technically this is the February rally, but the Chula Vista RV Resort is closing January 31, so we moved our dates up one week…

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If you recall, we had left our Airstream at the dealer in Temecula for service.  So today we loaded up the truck and drove to Temecula.  It seemed quite odd to be heading out to a rally without the Airstream!  But once we arrived at the dealer and hitched up, all was well again.  We arrived at the RV park at about 1:00 after an easy drive.  We set up and relaxation began.  That evening we had a nice small Happy Hours at the picnic table in our site – there were 5 Airstreams which had arrived early as we had.

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Friday was the official start of the rally.  We had a relaxing day, and enjoyed lunch at the local eatery, The Galley, at the adjacent marina.

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By Friday evening all 14 Airstreams had arrived and Happy Hours ensued…

On Saturday we served 30 people breakfast (we are “hosts” of this rally, along with another couple, so we had a few extra responsibilities…).

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At 10:00 we walked the 3/4 mile to the trolley station and we rode into downtown San Diego.  We strolled the streets, eventually arriving at Little Italy.  We stopped in for a light lunch at a small restaurant, then we walked some more.  We eventually made our way to the waterfront, then we headed to “the oldest bar in San Diego:”  The Waterfront Bar.  We enjoyed some cocktails, and eventually we found our way to the trolley station.  We  were back at the RV park by 3:00 or so.

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Happy Hours started at 5:00 and Dinner began at 6:00.  Hamburgers and all the fixin’s were on the menu.

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Sunday morning was quiet and slow, with continental breakfast at 8:30.  Breakfast was done and the clubhouse was cleaned by 10:00 and we began to get ready to leave…

We are heading to Crystal Cove State Park, where we will be camping for another four  days…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-01-07 – South Coast Airstream Club – Pala Casino RV Resort – Day 6

Final day of this trip.  Time to head home…

We were on the road by 9:30 or so; we stopped in Temecula and dropped off the Villa at Airstream Inland Empire for routine service and a few minor repairs.  All its life this Airstream has been maintained by C&G in Bellflower; however, this past summer C&G closed, with Rod and Darlene retiring.  So we are trying Airstream IE…

As we were approaching home we marveled at the mountains adjacent to Redlands:

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The little rain “storm” we experienced at Pala left a lovely blanket of snow on the mountains down to about 4,500 feet… We’re happy the snow stayed in the mountains where it belongs…

We unpacked and cleaned up.  I took our son John to the Apple store in Rancho Cucamonga to have his 2 week old iPhone replaced.  We were in and out of the Apple store in about 10 minutes and we were soon back home.

I spent some time starting to begin planning our trip east in March… More on that coming soon…

We had a delightful evening watching the final college football game of the season – The championship game between Clemson and Alabama. (As usual)

Spoiler Alert:  Rant Coming…

You’ve heard me rant before that these top football schools have gamed the system, scheduling their entire seasons with “cupcake” games, playing competitive teams as little as possible; the powers that be let them get away with this, and the sports writers and commentators do, too, rarely watching these games, merely looking at the numbers.  So Alabama beat Citadel 50-17?  Alabama beat Louisiana 51-14?  Why is Alabama even allowed to play teams like this and get credit for it?  Alabama beat Mississippi 62-7 in an SEC conference game?  Ole Miss only won 1 conference game this year!  For me it was a very boring season.  On most Saturdays there was only one real competitive game.  Back in the BCS days when strength of schedule actually mattered, there would be three or four, because schools knew they had to play these games to earn top rankings.  No more.  Now it’s all about the numbers…  The sports writers and commentators all crowned Alabama as the Champion back before the season even started.  Alabama football players were only going through the motions…  And the same goes for all the “elite” football schools…

Don’t get me wrong – I like Alabama, probably more than any other SEC team.  They are VERY good and are fun to watch most of the time…

So, as expected and predicted at the beginning of the season, Alabama and Clemson went at it tonight, going through the motions awaiting Alabama’s coronation.  But a funny thing happened on Alabama’s first offensive drive:  A pass was intercepted by Clemson and it was run back for a touchdown!  Alabama fans and players were stunned and perplexed… And it went downhill from there, the final score being Clemson 44, Alabama 16; Alabama never scored a touchdown after the 1st quarter…  It was a great game to watch two great teams play football!

And an enjoyable time was had by all, except for the Alabama fans…

2019-01-06 – South Coast Airstream Club – Pala Casino RV Resort – Day 5

Today is the last day of the official club campout.  We began with breakfast.  As is our custom, the breakfast buffet begins with the leftover desserts from the night before…

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After breakfast most of the club began their hitch-up rituals, and by noon the park was substantially empty…

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There were 8-9 of us who are staying one last night…

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More movies were watched and many walks were taken…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

2019-01-05 – South Coast Airstream Club – Pala Casino RV Resort – Day 4

Saturday dawned cold again… but as the day wore on clouds began to form…

We gathered for breakfast…

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After breakfast we were given a brief tutorial on “Prepatrip” (prepatrip.com), a tool for campers to sign up for potluck meals online.  The club has been using it for a few months and it seems to be working well.  We are hosts at our next camp-out, so we needed to know how it works.

The puzzlers moved their table indoors; after lunch the rain began to fall…

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It wasn’t a downpour, but any rain in any form is reason to pull out the heavy coats and umbrellas…

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The casino looks like a modern day castle looming in the distant clouds…

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Even the adjacent hills looked a little menacing…

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Old movies were watched as the rain fell…

We gathered again for dinner and enjoyed way too much food… We celebrated the fact that Lynda and the others finally finished the impossible puzzle! **

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

**  From the lyrics of “Crazy He Calls Me”, by the late great Billie Holiday

I say I’ll move the mountains
And I’ll move the mountains
If he wants them out of the way
Crazy, he calls me
Sure I’m crazy
Crazy in love, I’d say
I say I’ll go through fire
And I’ll go through fire
As he wants it, so it will be
Crazy, he calls me
Sure I’m crazy
Crazy in love, you see
Like the wind that shakes the bough
He moves me with a smile
The difficult I’ll do right now
The impossible will take a little while
I say I’ll care forever
And I mean forever
If I have to hold up the sky
Crazy, he calls me
Sure I’m crazy
Crazy in love am I

2019-01-04 – South Coast Airstream Club – Pala Casino RV Resort – Day 3

It was cold again this morning – 34 degrees at sunrise… But we have good 50 amp power and a strong furnace so we were comfortable inside.  Lynda continued to puzzle and soon the final group of Airstreamers began rolling in.

A friend and I like to go out for lunch to celebrate the weekend.  The only place to eat around here is at the casino, where the food is marginal at best.  But we try to order things that are simple.  It’s mostly just about getting together away from the crowds.  Lynda is always invited to join us, but she would rather puzzle…

On Friday evening on these weekend rallies we always get together for “Heavy Hors d’Oeuvres”, which serves as dinner for all of us.  New friends are made and old friendships are renewed.

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-01-03 – South Coast Airstream Club – Pala Casino RV Resort – Day 2

It was a quiet day in The Villa today.  I watched old movies on TV, took a nap, and spent much time walking about the RV Park.  Lynda pulled out a new jigsaw puzzle, complaining vociferously that it was going to be impossible to complete, then she proceeded to get it substantially done the first day…

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More Airstreamers started to roll in mid day.  By the time happy hour rolled around there were about 10 members on site.

We had made plans to meet old friends in Escondido for dinner.  We drove south, while they drove in from East San Diego County.  The restaurant was unusual in that it is located atop a Lexus Dealership!  But is was beautiful, the food was great, service was wonderful, and the room was spectacular!  But the real reason was to reconnect with old friends that we had not seen in almost a year…

We lingered over our meal and didn’t arrive back at The Villa until late – 10:30!  It was cold, we were exhausted, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

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